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The day R2D2 threw me into a trash can

 

One of my favourite interviews in my radio career was with Kenny Baker, otherwise known as R2D2.

Kenny was a circus and cabaret performer before a phone call came from George Lucas in 1977 that would change his life. Who knew there were two R2s? In the original Star Wars films, there were two models, one that was remote controlled and rolled on three-wheeled legs, and another which was worn by Kenny and walked on two legs.

Most interviews have at least one awkward moment and the one with Mr Baker came when he asked if I might lift him onto a chair in the studio. It should be said the chairs we use for radio are relatively high, especially if you are 3 foot 8 inches. I thought lifting Kenny might be similar to lifting a toddler. Wrong. I gingerly put my hands underneath the armpits of a 76-year-old sweaty, muscular man and hoisted him onto the seat. He laughed and gave out a satisfying grunt. What a gentleman he was.

‘Kenny, could we have a quick photo before you leave?’

‘Great, you jump in the wheely bin.’

‘Ah…sure.’

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